‘Thor’ the walrus spotted napping on Hampshire beach

Thor the walrus

A walrus nicknamed ‘Thor’ has been spotted resting on a Hampshire beach, prompting warnings that the public should keep away from it.

The rare sighting was reported by fisherman Darren Mckell at Calshot, a coastal village on the Solent, in the early hours of Sunday (11 December 2022).

The animal is being monitored by marine charity British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR), alongside the coastguard. The charity told the BBC that Thor swam off again during the early afternoon.

“We’ve not had any location details yet as to where it’s gone — but it may well appear somewhere along the coast again tonight or tomorrow,” BDMLR says.

The charity has advised the public to give the walrus a very wide berth. As crowds gathered, Coastguard officers set up a cordon along the beach to keep crowds a safe distance away from the tusked animal.

Thor walrus

Walruses usually live in and around the Arctic circle and it is rare for them to come as far south as Britain.

However, in November, Thor was spotted in the Netherlands and has been seen moving along the coast of France as far as Brittany in recent weeks. It’s likely that the walrus is stopping to regain strength before continuing on its next journey.

Dan Jarvis, director of welfare and conservation at BDMLR, told the BBC that high numbers of visitors would prevent the animal from conserving its energy.

“The more people than can leave it alone, the better chance it has of surviving,” he says.

Last year, two walruses visited the UK. Wally came to south Wales and the Isles of Scilly, while Freya visited Northumberland and Shetland. Both received unwanted attention from boaters and the public.

Adult walruses can weigh over two tonnes and measure around 4m in length. They have a life expectancy of around 40 years.

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